Give Your Lungs A Little Love

23 Aug

I recently noticed something interesting during my wogging session…yes I invented a term to more accurately describe my cardio activity.

wogging: to do a combination of walking and jogging during the allotted workout time.

I noticed that my breathing, or inability to breath in enough air, seems to be slowing me down.   It is not my legs that are giving out; rather, it is my lungs that cannot keep up.

I know that part of this issue is endurance related, but I felt like there might be more to it than that.  When I exert myself, I feel like I can’t get enough air after a very short period of time.  I started to wonder if my lung capacity had anything to do with this.  While I know that being “winded” is part of the package when you are trying to become fit, I found that there is potentially more to my situation than that.

You do, in fact, need to condition your lungs to give your body adequate oxygen during your workout.  I found that after the age of 20, your lung capacity can decrease up to 0.5% – 1% a year.

I found a plethora of exercises to help you get back some of that lost elasticity that prevents your lungs from holding as much air, and I found techniques to make your breathing more productive during your workout.

One of my favorite articles is from Women’s Health.  This article provides recommended breathing techniques to give you more productive breaths.  I have listed the recommendation for Running and Strength Training below.  I plan on incorporating these techniques into my workout regime as well as some conditioning exercises for increased lung capacity.  I will keep you all posted!

Click here to read the full article.

The Activity – Running
The Expert Danny Dreyer, author of ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-free Running
How? With closed lips, breathe in sharply and deeply through the nose. Then purse your lips, as if you’re trying to blow out a candle, and exhale through your mouth. As you run, breathe in for one step and out for two.
Why? “The rapid inhale and slower exhale in this technique fills your lungs from the bottom,” Dreyer says. “Breathing exercises help you take in more air when you inhale and empty your lungs completely when you exhale.” The result? “Your muscles receive more glycogen, which lowers your chances of cramping up.”

The Activity – Strength training
The Expert Tom Holland, exercise physiologist and personal trainer in Darien, CT
How? Exhale through your mouth when you lift weights and inhale through your nose when you lower. Rule of thumb: Take two seconds to raise the weight and three to four seconds to lower it.
Why? Focusing on your breath keeps your brain in the game so you’re more likely to pay attention to overall form, Holland says.

Do you have any helpful fitness/wellness articles to share?  Please post any tips or links you have found helpful.

Stay Strong and Keep Moving,

6 Responses to “Give Your Lungs A Little Love”

  1. Christin August 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Awesome article! I’m totally doing these 🙂

    • chirpybleu August 23, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      That is great! Glad you liked it!

  2. D. Martin August 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    I’ve had the same issue; realizing my breathing was keeping me from running like I wanted. I found an article that explained a breathing technique for running on a military site. I’ll have to go find it and comment with it.
    I believe my breathing issues are from being a smoker for so long. I tried my first cigarette at 13 (I know!) and I quit on my 31st birthday, almost a year ago. So on top of the lack of exercise my whole life and the aging reducing my capacity, I also had to deal with healing my lungs. The technique I learned from that article absolutely took me from huffing and puffing, practically hyperventilating to being in control of my breath and comfortable. I’m still in the beginner stages of becoming a runner, doing C25k to get myself going, so I haven’t had to run long distances yet, but before the longest I’d ever jogged was 2 minutes. That was all I had and it was insanely hard. The longest I’ve gone now is 3/4 of a mile. 🙂
    I’ll find that site and post the link

    • chirpybleu August 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

      I can’t wait to see the link! That progress is amazing! I would feel like I was a marathon runner if I could run 3/4 of a mile. Way to go and I look forward to your link!

  3. D. Martin August 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    I found it! Yay!

    So after re-reading it I realize that I’ve been doing a 3:3 breathing pattern. It’s easy for me… I just count 1,2,3 breathing in and 1,2,3 breathing out with my footfall. It also helps me focus on running and not that I’m getting tired or my legs are getting tired, etc. I can more easily focus on my form and my breaths. Oh! I’ve also found that I can’t breathe through my nose when jogging. All of my breathing is through the mouth. Looking into that problem I learned that it’s fairly common for people to not be comfortable inhaling through the nose while running.
    P.S. I actually have the book ChiRunning checked out from the library right now! Looking to run without shin pain is new focus. 😉

    • chirpybleu August 23, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Score!!!! This is awesome! Thanks!

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